Despite a pandemic-enforced delay, Ghostbusters: Afterlife is on its way to us next year. Before director Jason Reitman picks up the baton – or the proton wand – from his father Ivan and brings the latest chapter in the story to screens, he wrote the script with Monster House director Gil Kenan. Empire hopped on the dread zoom to talk to Kenan about his experience.
While Kenan might not have the family connection to the film that Reitman can claim, he's a longtime fan of especially the first movie, which was in cinemas across the pond when he moved to Los Angeles from Tel Aviv with his family in 1984. "I approached it like anybody would with tremendous respect and fear, and love for films that shaped us and inspired us growing up," he says of working on the new movie, which stars Carrie Coon, Paul Rudd, Finn Wolfhard and McKenna Grace. The story picks up as the daughter of one of the 'busters (Coon's Callie) moves to an old house left to her by her father (the trailers haven't specified, but all signs point to the late Harold Ramis' Egon Spengler) with her kids and discovering a treasure trove of tech... And a fresh supernatural threat.
Talking of tech, Kenan enthused about getting to play with both the toys that the Ghostbusters employed through the film and how he and Reitman had their own sets even before the latter stepped on set. "We were surrounded by some of the toys while we were writing and used them to stage set pieces, that was a literal way the toys informed the process," he says. But it wasn't all playing with ghost traps or pushing model Ecto-1 cars around a table. "We knew that the words you write and that Jason has brought to life on the screen is going to create another generation of toys and young people who play with them and become inspired by them, that’s what we do this for, it’s the dream."
We also wondered how Kenan got involved, and it turns out the pair have been writing together for a while. "Jason and I have been friends for a very long time, we actually met when we were both editing our first films, I was editing Monster House and he was editing Thank You For Smoking," Kenan recalls. "Both of us had a strange, short-lived notion that we would go and blow off some steam playing ice hockey. Our meet cute was in a locker room lacing up our ice skates and being, ‘what do you do?’ ‘what do you do?’ ‘I’m editing my first feature!’ ‘me too!’ So we started hanging out and talking story way back when and have written together for more than five or six years now, this just the first and biggest of our collaborations to make it to the screen."
The movie will be out on 11 June next year. Expect more from Kenan on his own latest directorial project, A Boy Called Christmas, soon on the site.